How to Become a Veterinary Assistant in Arkansas

How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

If you live in Arkansas, you love animals and are in need of a job, you could consider becoming a veterinary assistant!

Here you’ll learn what are the steps to follow as well as the salary you could earn as a vet assistant so read on!

Requirements for a Veterinary Assistant in Arkansas

In Arkansas, there aren’t specific requirements related to this occupation.

If you have the following skills you’re a good candidate for the position:

  • Good communication
  • Able to multitask
  • Stress resistant
  • Time management
  • Anger management
  • Team player

Veterinary assistants work not only with animals but also with people.

Candidates for this position should also be fit as they’ll need to handle heavy animals in various ways.

When it comes to education, in Arkansas you usually need just a high school diploma or a GED equivalent for employment as a vet’s assistant.

Depending on where you apply for a job, you might have better chances of getting chosen if you obtain a certification in the field.

In Arkansas, individuals need to be at least 18 years old to get hired.

Veterinary Assistant Employment and Job Duties

Vet assistants have many avenues where they can apply for a job.

These places include:

  • Pet clinics,
  • Animal rescue facilities,
  • Animal shelters
  • Zoos
  • Educational institutions

Since their job is to help, they need to complete the tasks assigned to them by the veterinarian they assist.

Tasks and duties will vary between facilities and even based on the time of the year.

Most commonly, the vet assistant has to complete these tasks:

  • Managing client records
  • Keeping inventory count
  • Instrument sterilization and sanitation
  • Cage cleaning and disinfecting
  • Preparing rooms for examining animals
  • Preparing rooms for surgery
  • Maintaining updated medical records
  • Handling animal walking and exercise

Earning the National Certification for Veterinary Assistants

As mentioned already, a certification will improve your chances of getting hired.

In Arkansas, most individuals choose to become Approved Veterinary Assistants.

This certification is obtained only after completing a training program and then passing an exam.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America issues this certification.

To become an AVA, you’ll usually have to complete a training program that lasts up to 1 year.

Not everyone can afford to attend the NAVTA course.

They can still take the exam after they complete one of the following:

  • An internship – employment with a veterinarian is a must for this option
  • Obtain experiential learning – you must be working part-time in a vet office
  • Get certified while employed – you need permission to take the exam if you are already employed

Exam candidates usually have to show proof of completing their training or one of the options and to pay the associated exam fee of $100.

While the AVA certification is the most popular, you can choose other certifications in this field or even a degree.

All credentials are issued after completing a training course.

These are available through:

  • High schools
  • Training centers
  • Community colleges
  • Online programs

One of the shortest programs is only 72 credit hours long.

The youngest age at which you can enroll in a program is 16.

Students of these programs are expected to learn:

  • How to identify different breeds
  • Animal anatomy
  • The best ways to administer meds
  • How to administer post-operative care
  • Handling various breeds of animals
  • Medical terminology
  • Handling chemicals

If you want to obtain a degree, you need to attend college for at least 2 years.

The following schools can be a starting point.

School Name Address
ARKANSAS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, AR 72202
ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY 1600 South College Street Mountain Home, AR
BAPTIST HEALTH 9601 Baptist Health Drive, Little Rock, AR, 72205
BLACK RIVER TECHNICAL COLLEGE 1410 Hwy 304 East Pocahontas, AR
REMINGTON COLLEGE-LITTLE ROCK CAMPUS 19 Remington Dr. Little Rock, AR
SOUTH ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGE 300 S West Ave El Dorado, AR
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES 4301 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205

Admission into these programs can be more strict compared to training centers.

The NAVTA certification is not always ensured through these colleges.

Salary Information for a Veterinary Assistant in Arkansas

In Arkansas, the demand for veterinary assistants is on the rise, as in most other states.

Individuals who are certified AVAs or hold a degree have higher chances of getting hired, as these are the requirements at the employers’ level.

All the credentials in this industry also help you get a higher salary.

Annual Salary Range:

$18K
$28K
$40K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Little Rock $28,833
Fort Smith $27,216
Fayetteville $28,354
Springdale $28,354
Jonesboro $28,655
North Little Rock $28,833
Conway $28,553
Rogers $28,185
Bentonville $28,129
Pine Bluff $27,886

Additional Information for Veterinary Assistants in Arkansas

One thing to remember about the certificate issued by NAVTA is that you need to renew it.

The renewal period is 2 years, during which you must continue your education with relevant classes.

There is also a fee associated with the renewal process.

READ MORE: How to Become a Veterinary Assistant

State Specific Information

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